For New Year traditions in Costa Rica, Ticos sure do know how to party! Playas del Coco gets crazy on the night of Dec. 31st. And I mean there are thousands of people just absolutely packed onto this one small street of the town stretching all the way down to the beach.
One year, we spent it at one of our friend’s house with his family and then went to town right after midnight. We had a late dinner on his rooftop and once 12 AM rolled around, you could see fireworks from all over with the fire balloons flying all around (the paper lanterns they light and let off into the night).
Now going out and partying is the thing to do for New Years especially as a youngster but some traditions still hold strong. I spent it with Yeison and our friends and got to experience the best of both – crazy pelota and quiet countdown with a Costa Rican family of three generations.
Radio Reloj – Before big screen TVs and instant messaging, the way to spend New Years was to gather around with family and friends and listen to the radio. Radio Reloj is the name of the program where they just talk about life in general and countdown until midnight.
Eating Pork Leg
For New Year’s eve dinner, they normally eat fairly late (we ate around 10) and it’s tradition to eat pork leg. We also had mashed potatoes, vegetables, pineapple salsa and salad. Yum!
This tradition seems to exist in many countries and also in Costa Rica. Once midnight strikes, eat 12 grapes for good luck. We didn’t eat any but hopefully we’ll still have good luck for the coming year!
Walking around with your suitcase
For good luck and future travels, they have a tradition where you fill up your suitcase and walk around your neighborhood with it. Seem a bit silly but hey, do whatever for travel right?
Wear yellow underwear inside out
Interesting… didn’t ask if our friends did this but that’s OK.
Throwing coins in your house
Old tradition which we didn’t do but now I wish we did!
Washing the entrance
This is right after midnight, not at midnight.
Our New Years
We sat around, listened to the radio, lighted a couple globos, watched fireworks and enjoyed some wine. Unfortunately there were a few tall trees in front of us so we couldn’t see the beach fireworks very well but our neighbor and the people at the top of the hill were lighting fireworks like crazy!
This was taken with our GoPro so the low light isn’t the best and the fireworks are far away. Lighting and setting off a balloon isn’t a tradition, it’s fairly new but still fun all the same.
And another tradition for those who suffer from the goma the next day, the best hangover food in Costa Rica is, what else but gallo pinto. Gallo pinto with some carne en salsa and bread. Yum!
As my second new year in Costa Rica, I would have to say it went pretty well. Great food, good company, finally got to see some fireworks and experienced some of the craziness downtown. Wonder where we will be celebrating the coming of 2015!
Radio Reloj! HA! That made me guffaw (I have a ridiculous sense of humor). Loved the tradition roundup. Eating the 12 grapes is familiar, but yellow underwear is just pushing it too far – c’mon, everybody knows you’re supposed to wear blue (that’s how we do it in Southern Europe) 🙂 Here’s to a fantabulous 2014!
hahaha! I’ve also heard red underwear for Italy too. So funny with the underwear traditions!
Fun post! It looks like many of us like the walking around with the suitcase tradition. I think I will adopt it too! Costa Rica is on my short list to visit. Thanks for sharing some of their New Year’s traditions!
haha yup anything for travel! Hope you make it over here soon 🙂
They have such curious traditions in Costa Rica like the 12 grapes or the yellow pants. In Italy you should eat lentils for good luck and to have a wealthy year and wear something red, something old and something brand new. I love traditions! 🙂
haha love it! Traditions are pretty random but fun everywhere!
A Southern Gypsy says
Those traditions are fantastic haha…I’d do the yellow underwear one! Great post as usual guys and thanks for linking it up to the #SundayTraveler 🙂
The Coco shots look like a lot of fun; but I can see it going crazy, too. I love all the Costa Rican New Year tradition – especially the Radio Reloj. With the advent of more modern technology, there’s something sweet and simple about gathering around a radio. Walking around with suitcases is certainly a unique tradition. But hey, anything for more travel! Wonder what the yellow underwear signifies:) The fire balloons look festive. Happy New Year and glad to discover your blog through Travel Photo Monday.
Totally agreed about the radio, something nice to remind you of simple times. Have no idea about the yellow underwear that one just seems like it’s more for sillyness or maybe they thought it up when they were inebriated hehe. Happy new Year!!
Becky Padmore says
Some of our good friends live in Costa Rica at the moment and they said NYE was a lot of fun, I can see why! 🙂
It’s always a crazy party here no matter what part of the country you are in!
Great post as always :-). Glad to hear that you reorganized from 2013; that wasn’t cool way to start a new year. Funny customs regarding celebration – loved the most walking around with your suitcase. I pictured myself doing that in my neighborhood. I wouldn’t have many friends afterwards :-).
Thanks Frank! Yeah beginning of 2013 wasn’t the most fun but this year was much better! Same here, always fun to hear about different traditions no matter how funny or silly they seem. Didn’t see anyone walking around with a suitcase though! haha
Wow, that looks like one crazy party! I can see why people would say ‘done it once, won’t do it again’
Yep it’s kind of overwhelming the first time but it is fun to be in the middle of all the craziness. But it’s probably enough craziness to last for the next few years haha
Looks like a lot of fun. Next New Year’s Eve I will walk around with a suitcase and follow Costa Rican traditions 🙂
haha yep I will too!
Mrs. Chasing the Donkey says
I am not sure of any traditions here in Croatia, I do not think any like this anyhow. Seems like so much fun. Thanks for linking up to our Sunday Traveler linky, when you get a second, would be great if you can add the badge and link back to one of us hosts. I have also pinned this, hope that’s okay.
Of course! I just put the badge and put a text link to one of the bloggers, hope that is enough! You should do a post about new year traditions in Croatia, I’d be curious to read about it!
Mrs. Chasing the Donkey says
Thanks ever so much. It’s weird for me as I live in a small town with older relatives and lots of traditions are just not done anymore, so I am learning AFTER the fact. Next year I’ll be more prepared 🙂